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Seven DECA students earn top honors at annual regional competition held online

February 19, 2021

Seven students from the Community College of Rhode Island’s Collegiate DECA group earned first-place awards in this year's annual Northeast Regional Competition, held virtually at Johnson & Wales University for the first time due to the ongoing pandemic.

Collegiate DECA is a national organization for college students preparing for careers in marketing, management, and entrepreneurship. Founded in 1946, DECA has more than 225,000 members and more than 200 collegiate chapters with a goal of enhancing each student’s college curriculum while providing networking opportunities for club members due to its close ties with the business community. DECA also promotes self-reliance and cooperative leadership in addition to helping students make informed career choices while fostering high ethical standards in business.

The Northeast Regionals allow students to put their classroom experience and knowledge to the test in analyzing real-world scenarios. Case studies are designed to measure a broad range of knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified by business and industry professionals as essential to career success. Overall, eight CCRI students – six of whom had never participated in a DECA competition prior to this year – competed in events in the following industry tracks: Accounting, Entrepreneurship Operations, Sales Manager Meeting, and Restaurant and Food Service Management. The competition included a pre-event online exam followed by a case study in which they presented their findings to judges comprised of various industry professionals via a live online platform.

Medals were awarded for top exam score, top case study, and top overall score, which combines both the exam and the case study. CCRI students earned the following awards:

  • Christine Williams, Providence, RI; First Place Overall (combined exam and case study) and Top Exam Score, Restaurant and Food Service Management
  • Tina Taylor, Warwick, RI; First Place Case Study, Restaurant and Food Service Management
  • Austin O’Meara, Bristol, CT; First Place Overall (combined exam and case study) and Top Exam Score, Sales Management Meeting
  • Andrew Sok, Warwick, RI; Top Exam Score, Entrepreneurship Operations
  • Jose Clase, Providence, RI; First Place Case Study, Entrepreneurship Operations
  • Jennyfer Aquino, Providence, RI; First Place Overall (combined exam and case study), Entrepreneurship Operations
  • Joseph Ozuna, Providence, RI; Fourth Place, Entrepreneurship Operations
  • Leiny Tapia, Middletown, RI; First Place Case Study (tie), Financial Accounting

The top winners in the regional competition have earned the opportunity to compete in the annual DECA International Career Development Conference in April – originally scheduled to be held in Texas, but now presented virtually – where they will have the opportunity to earn DECA awards, medallions, and scholarships.

“The pandemic has changed our normal daily lives, but our students really embraced this new virtual competition platform,” said CCRI Business Administration Professor and Collegiate DECA Advisor Joanne Orabone. “During the entire week leading up to the event, they met virtually with me on a nightly basis to practice analyzing and presenting case studies. Their hard work and dedication paid off. Collegiate DECA continues to help change students’ lives and helps them achieve their dreams.”

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